Conflict theorists have a different view of cydes and the economic system. From a conflict perspective, business cycles are the result of capitalist greed. In order to maximize profits, capitalists suppress the wages of workers. As the prices of products increase, workers are not able to purchase them in the quantities that have
been produced. The resulti ng surpluses cause capitaliststo reduce production, close factories, and layoff workers, thus contributing to the growth of the reserve army of the unemployed, whose presence helps reduce the wages of the remaining workers. In some situations. workers are replaced with machines or non unionized workers. In J994, for example, some trucking companies claimed that they could not alford to pay union truck drivers over $17 an hour, so they hired nonunion freight carriers who made about $9 an hour. Drivers such as Tim Hart claimed that pay was the only difference between his work and that of a union driver: "Ibust my tail, doing the exact same thing the union drivers do. And they make double what I do. It bothers me. I mean, ifthosc companies can alford to pay that much, why can't mine!" (qtd, in D. Johnson, 1994: 10). Karl Marx referred to the propensily of capitalists to maximize profits by reducing wages as the falling rate of profit, which he believed to be one of the inherent contradictions of capitalism that would produce its eventual downfaU. According to the polilical sociologist Michael Parenti, business is the economic system, Parenti believes that political leaders treat the health of the capitalist economy as a necessary condition for the health of the nation and that the goals of big business.
Rapid growth, high profits, and secure markets at home and abroad) become the goals o, oovernment (Parenti, 1996). In sum, to some conflict theorists, capitalism
is the problem; to some functionalist theorists, capitalism is the solution to society's problems .